Michaelhouse school hymn 'lifts the roof' at chapel service for boy killed in bus crash

2017-09-07 14:06
Michaelhouse pupil Themba Dloti died in the crash on Townhill on Tuesday.

Michaelhouse pupil Themba Dloti died in the crash on Townhill on Tuesday. (Facebook )

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Pietermaritzburg - As injured Michaelhouse pupils recover in hospital following the horror bus crash on the N3 near Hilton on Wednesday, the school has been flooded with touching messages of support.

One pupil, Themba Dloti (16), died at the accident scene after an alleged tyre burst sent the bus careering over the median onto the northbound lane. The bus was carrying soccer teams to their matches at Kearsney College on Tuesday afternoon.

Michaelhouse marketing manager Murray Witherspoon said the 46 boys and four staff members who were in the bus at the time of the crash were admitted to Grey’s, MediClinic, Hilton Life and St Anne’s hospitals.

Witherspoon said the school held a chapel service on Wednesday at which  they commemorated Themba’s life.

Michaelhouse rector Greg Theron described the service as an “emotional affair”.

“It was a muted and sombre affair with the exception of the School Hymn which, while deeply emotional, threatened to lift the roof off of our chapel,” said Theron.

He said the school will be counselling both the victims of the accident and others who are in need of it.

Rumours

Theron refuted “a number of unfounded rumours” making the rounds, mostly on social media.

“Beyond what has been shared on our Facebook and e-mail communiques, no more serious injuries, indeed fatalities, were suffered, thank God.

“There have also been a number of stories concerning the facts of the crash and again, the details published yesterday (Tuesday) remain the most accurate to date.

“We will of course be investigating these and will inform you of findings as and when we have these at our disposal,” said Theron.

Theron said most of the pupils had been discharged from hospitals and were back at school.

“There are still 13 boys and one staff member in hospital, some of whom will be there for some time, given the needs of their injuries,” he said.

The rector expressed his gratitude to the thousands of people, schools, organisations and emergency services who had extended their support and love.

Boy who died son of former Liberty CEO

Thabo Dloti, former CEO of Liberty, who is the father of the pupil who died in the accident, asked The Witness to give him time and call again later, but efforts to contact him later were unsuccessful.

A memorial service for Themba Dloti will be held in the Michaelhouse chapel at noon on Friday.

Meanwhile, the wheel of the bus will be sent to Pretoria for forensic investigators to examine, according to a source.

Marketing manager at Pietermaritzburg MediClinic, Reshnee Beekrum, said 17 pupils and one staff member were admitted to the hospital on Tuesday.

Three boys were still in the hospital on Wednesday, one in the postoperative surgical unit, one in high care who had surgery on Wednesday and another in the postoperative Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Beekrum also disputed rumours about the nature of the injuries, but declined to give details due to patient confidentiality.

Spokesperson for the KZN Department of Health Sam Mkhwanazi said they treated and discharged nine pupils and referred three to a private hospital.

A spokesperson for Netcare St Anne’s declined to provide any information “in accordance with patient confidentiality legislation”.

Dev Maharaj, from the bus company Maharaj’s Coaches, said the bus driver was also injured in the accident.

“Thankfully he was moderately injured and is out of danger but still receiving medical treatment. He will be sent for counselling ... as it was a very traumatic experience for him as well,” said Maharaj.

Condolences 

The DA in KZN also sent their condolences to the Dloti and Michaelhouse families.

Maritzburg College released a statement on their Facebook page on Wednesday acknowledging that the school also uses Maharaj’s Coaches and adding “We would like to assure our community that all external and internal measures are in hand to ensure the safety of our pupils and staff, which remains our utmost priority at all times.”

An emergency worker at the scene on Tuesday, bemoaned the fact that some services battled to get to the scene of the accident because motorists had blocked the emergency lane.

“The fire truck and the big breakdown truck experienced this. Motorists would not move out of their way.”

He urged motorists to give way to emergency vehicles at all times.

Deputy chief fire officer Juggie Padayachee on Wednesday appealed to motorists to give way to emergency vehicles.

“When our red lights are flashing and our sirens are on, please let us go through. It means we are on our way to an emergency,” Padayachee said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  michaelhouse accident

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